We are excited to share with you the construction projects that are happening this year on campus! This past April, we broke ground for the Paul and Linda DeBruce Hall, a building that will be a part of each and every student’s education at KCAI. With the new Barbara Marshall Residence Hall completed, work has begun on the old student living center to convert it into studios for Animation and Illustration.
Paul and Linda DeBruce Hall
Named for two of Kansas City’s visionary philanthropists, Paul and Linda DeBruce, this building will house Art History, Creative Writing, Entrepreneurial Studies, Liberal Arts and the Ronald Cattelino Center for Student Services.
The Hall is designed by Hufft, a Kansas City-based architecture firm known for creating meaningful spaces inspired by people and how they move within a space. Award-winning landscape architects Hoerr Schaudt will design the expansive outdoor spaces and Kansas City construction company McCownGordon will build the facility. Designed to be a “classroom in a garden”, Paul and Linda DeBruce Hall will impact every student at the college and will elevate the profile of KCAI’s academic programs in a state-of-the-art facility.
A unique architectural feature of the Hall will be the entry portal on Oak Street. Visitors will enter through a portal adorned with panels, each engraved with the name of influential art historians of the past and present. The entrance will become a tribute to the individuals who have interpreted and written about art and artists for future generations. “Many museums and art centers celebrate artists by having their names of the facade – but no one has honored art historians – the scholars who interpret, explain and tell us the stories of those artists. I think they deserve thanks and recognition” said Nerman Family President Tony Jones CBE.
Animation and Illustration Studios
Beginning fall semester, Animation and Illustration students will have contemporary new classroom and studio space in the former living center towers. As soon as students moved into the new Barbara Marshall Residence Hall, work began to convert the towers to much-needed space for our two fastest-growing departments. In the past three years, Illustration has grown by 15% and the number of Animation students has increased by 50%!
Kansas City architects Gould Evans worked with KCAI faculty to design buildings that provide optimal classroom, studio space and common areas for Illustration and Animation, which have very different needs. Illustration (south tower) has large gallery walls to display student art, a common work area that mimics the feel of working in a design firm and utilizes lots of natural light. Animation (north tower) has high tech lighting controls so spaces can be darkened for student presentations and lightbox work, while presentation walls are multi-media screens perfect for showcasing moving images.
The north tower will also be the new site of KCAI Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice. It is relocating from its previous location in the Kansas City Crossroads, which closed in December 2019, to allow more students to take advantage of gallery programming. The gallery will be built with a unique flexible usage design including the campus’s first black box theater for student and public screenings.